THE day could not have been more perfect for the inaugural Dartmoor Open Water Swim in association with the Pickwell Foundation which took place at Roadford Lake.

Around 260 people descended on to the lakeside to be greeted by near perfect conditions. The 10 kilometre race was first to take to the water – 42 competitors took part, with half the field being women. The first across the line was Gemma Owen from Cullompton in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes. The course was made up of two massive 5km loops, with Owen only leading by 20 seconds after the first lap, but she eased ahead in the second lap to beat second place over all to Kitty Hollingsworth (Somerset). First man across the line – 17 seconds behind Hollingsworth – was veteran John Wisner (St Austell) and John Milton (Barnstaple).

Skins (non wetsuits) wearers) were out in full force, enjoying the near balmy conditions of 22c. First place overall again in the 10km was Teena Byatt (Bristol) beating first male skin Robert Granger (St Austell) by one minute.

There were two other distances: the 5km, which was won by Benjamin Procter, two minutes ahead of Mark Richards, and in the women’s, Jennifer Mcgeaver who beat Olympian silver medalist in the modern Pentathlon, Heather Fell who was only two minutes behind. In Skins, Steven Hurley was first over the line, with silver going to David Barefoot

In the 2.5km distance, super veteran Michael Day pipped Kieran Chouhan Thomas by a mere 12 seconds to take gold with a time of 43 minutes 30 seconds. In the women’s, Carolyn Merrikin was first with a time of 43 minutes 58 seconds

Fifty two kayakers covered the lake, with an SUP hovering by to attend to any distressed or exhausted winners

‘It was bold to have a course that stretched across the whole lake, but the feedback has been awesome,’ said Heather Fell. ‘What a great event, can’t believe how many happy competitors I saw!’

Open Water Swimming is fast becoming one of the most popular mass participation sports in the UK with the average age of 44 – Dartmoor Open Water Swim was proud to have a range of ages, from 17 to 71.

Event director Peter Wright said: ‘Most participants are not racing, but just out to enjoy an open water swim in a safe environment and the stunning Roadford Lake certainly fits the bill. Marshals and safety crew did a marvellous job and the atmosphere was certainly euphoric.’